5 Tried-and-True Ways to Increase Happiness in Daily Life
About the Author: Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a psychologist, author and speaker who synthesizes the pearls of traditional psychotherapy with a progressive integration of mindfulness to achieve mental and emotional healing.
We all want to be happy, undeniably.
For some people happiness comes easier than others, but what we’re starting to understand is that happiness, that sense of connection and ease of appreciating the good moments and being more graceful and resilient during the difficult ones, is a skill and strength that we can all build.
Here are Five Simple Ways to Increase Happiness in Daily Life (Note: Set all judgments aside when you read this, practice them for yourself and let your experience be your teacher).
1. Practice happiness for other people’s happiness
When you see someone doing good things for themselves like exercising, laughing with a group of friends, or celebrating an accomplishment, practice being supportive to them in your mind. Say things like “good for you for taking care of yourself” or “glad you’re having a moment of joy,” smile in your mind at them or just say “Yes!”
2. Practice non-violent communication toward yourself
We’ve known for a long time we’re our own worst critics and the way we talk to ourselves has a major impact on how we feel. Being a little self-critical is okay, but most of us experience it all too regularly. That has to be nipped in the bud as a practice. See if you can label any of that self-judgment and in that moment flip it to actively thinking about things you like about yourself.
3. Practice non-violent communication toward others
When feeling frustrated it’s natural for humans to employ sarcasm, contempt, or to manipulate other people to get what we want. However, this type of communication toward others is like poison for our well-being. Whenever you notice any of this poison arising in you, take a few deep breaths and exercise restraint, you’ll thank yourself later.
4. Relax your nervous system
We happen to live in a world that is very fast paced, it’s no wonder that stress and anxiety are on the rise. It’s important to consciously relax our bodies a few times a day. Take a deep breath, scan your body to find where you can soften or stretch the muscles that are tense. Make this a practice, you’ll be surprised how much this can help.
5. Be aware of the good
There’s a lot of “Bad” news out there that dials up our nervous systems and makes us want to keep coming back to hear more, which only feeds a “nervous” system. Instead, create some balance, your brain is less likely to see all the good, so you have to intentionally pay attention to it. When you notice a good moment, notice it, “this is a good moment, in life there are good moments, can I allow myself to linger in this for a few seconds?” Let the neurons fire together and wire together.
Of course there are all kinds of other things that can support our happiness including sleep, exercise, time in nature, and play. Although these are all important factors that can contribute to our well-being, the above five ways I’ve shared are all simple habits that take no extra time out of your life.
It becomes not so much about time management, but attention management.
Here’s the simple instructions:
Practice this for one week. Perhaps you’d like to go down the list and just focus on one per day, then see what you notice at the end of the week. As a bonus, emotional contagion is a real science and so as you practice this, imagine the ripple effects your happiness has on those around you.